When writing a packing list for Swedish Lapland, most people wouldn’t include a swimsuit. But if a stop at the Arctic Bath hotel is on your agenda, you’ll definitely want to add one. Opened in January 2020, the six-room floating hotel sits in Sweden’s Lule River, just south of the Arctic Circle. An additional six cabins sit on the riverbank.
“The hotel is inspired by the timber-floating era, when felled trees were transported downriver for processing,” says Annkathrin Lundqvist, who designed the riverbank cabins. Historically, as timber floated down the river, the logs sometimes got caught on each other in the rapids, creating a sculptural pileup—this was the inspiration behind Arctic Bath. “The main building is inspired by a logjam.”
At the center of the circular aquatic lodgings, designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi—who were also involved in the design of the nearby Treehotel, a complex of treetop guesthouses designed by various famed Scandinavian architects—is an open-air cold-plunge bath that allows visitors to view the northern lights in wintertime and the midnight sun during the summer months.
“The idea for Arctic Bath came from one of the owners, Per-Anders Eriksson, who had asked for a floating sauna nine years ago with the opening of the Treehotel,” notes Harström. “The project is based on a method called ‘dig where you stand,’ so most of the materials have a local connection.”
Constructed from pine, a traditional building material in the region, both sections of the hotel feature a minimal Scandinavian aesthetic with décor from a number of Swedish design brands, including bespoke lighting by Ateljé Lyktan, beds from Carpe Diem, and additional furniture from Karl Andersson & Söner, Stolab, Norrgavel, and Swedese. “The surrounding nature has been incorporated into the cabins and suites,” says Lundqvist. “We used natural, sustainable materials with a rich history, such as wood, stone, and leather, as well as luxurious textiles.”
In addition to three saunas, a hot tub, and a treatment spa, guests can enjoy offsite experiences including a husky-drawn sled ride, a visit to nearby Harads, and a trip to a traditional Sámi village.